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Maple Leafs sign draft prospect Pontus Holmberg

They needed a good news story, and they found it in their championship winning prospect.

Finland v Sweden - 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship
Holmberg on the national team digging at the net, like he does.
Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images

The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed their 2018 drafted prospect forward to an ELC. Coming off an SHL championship this year, he is expected to return to Växjö for another season next year.

Pontus Holmberg is 22, is a centre most of the time, but often plays wing on deeper teams like the national team. He is the traditional size for a fast and agile winger, and he plays an assertive and smart brand of hockey.

After being drafted in 2018, he had the following point totals in the SHL:

D+1: 10 points in 47 regular season games, and 0 points in 7 playoff games.

D+2: 17 points in 52 regular season games, no playoff games due to COVID.

D+3 (this year): 23 points in 45 games, then 14 points in 14 playoff games.

Holmberg is unlikely to make a big impact in the NHL, but he’s the kind of worker bee, defensive player with great offensive positioning that is actually fairly hard to find. It’s easy to find highlight reel goal-scorers, and then you just have to pay them. Players like Holmberg can be diamonds in the rough with the right development.

His team in Sweden is excellent, is very well coached, and if he does stay there, he would be finished (pandemic allowing) in time to come to the AHL after his SHL season is over.

We should expect to see some sort of prospect action this summer, so it’s possible we’ll get to see him in action now that he’s signed.